Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

All at Sea with the Playful Platypus

Published on January 2, 2014 by   ·   No Comments

If you are the type of person who cannot look at the sea without viewing it as a massive free playground, then the Platypus could well be what you are looking for.

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Unsurprisingly, the birth of the Platypus can be attributed to Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef, which arguably offers divers the best underwater experience in the world.  François-Alexandre Bertrand graduated from one of France’s most renowned business schools and spent eight years in the field of consulting before deciding to take a delayed gap year in Australia – it was here that he was astonished by the beauty of the coral reefs.

Having decided that what the nautical world really lacked was a pleasure craft that could be used both on top and beneath the sea, François-Alexandre then encountered one of Australasia’s strangest creatures – the duck-billed platypus.  Noted for its ability to swim in and beneath the water, bingo, he had found the name for his project – Platypus.

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FAB (as he is known to his colleagues and friends) spent four years developing this manmade Platypus and, thanks to a dedicated team of shipbuilding experts, financial investors, technical wizards and industrial partners, it’s almost ready to hit the market.

Described in its most basic terms, the Platypus is a catamaran.  Passengers straddle a central strut and pivoting arms connect this section to the two ‘catamaran’ hulls.  The strut can be hydraulically lowered beneath the surface and, with the aid of a compressor to supply oxygen, those on board can explore life beneath the sea.

Measuring 5.7 metres and weighing in at 720kg, the prototype Platypus is powered by two Torqeedo motors supported by a 10kw lithium-ion battery pack.  With two on board it is capable of a range of up to 30 nautical miles above the water when travelling at five knots, but once the passengers are submerged this capability is roughly halved.  Batteries last approximately four hours with a typical combination of standard and sub-aqua activity.

FAB has patented his idea in France, other parts of Europe, the USA, China and Thailand and plans to launch the standard version next year with an estimated price of 50,000 euros.

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The Platypus has already attracted favourable attention due to its eco-friendly nature and has also been praised for its potential to grant accessibility with Philippe Streiff, a retired French F1 driver who was tragically left a quadriplegic after an accident, now Technical Advisor to the Inter-ministerial Delegate for Road Safety spotting Platypus’s potential for disabled divers.

Australia is infamous for the frequency of its shark attacks and, perhaps bearing the country of his invention’s birth in mind, FAB has proposed that the next version of the Platypus should include a shark cage, since swimming, surfing and body-boarding is prohibited in many tourist spots, such as La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

Built in the Prototypes Composites Solutions (PCS) workshop in Vendée, France, the Platypus is almost ready to launch – get your orders in.

www.platypuscraft.com

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